SARGODHA - Citrus stands as the second most important fruit worldwide in terms of area and production but unfortunately being a large market of citrus yield, it has not been a profitable harvest for kinnow growers due to various reasons in the country.

President Kinnow Growers Association Hamid Saleem Warraich talking to APP said that although citrus was a profitable business but presently it was facing a number problems including low production due to pests and diseases, citrus canker is one of the most devastating diseases, he added.

He said that Citrus stands at top among the 30 fruits grown throughout the country with Punjab dominating in production as about 59 per cent of the total area and almost 64 percent of the production among citrus was captured by the kinnow alone.

He said that kinnow growers were facing severe problems as they could not even meet the expenditures over kinnow production as the citrus canker was a threatening disease for its growth, added that many commercial citrus varieties were moderately to highly susceptible to the disease with kinnow being the most vulnerable one.

When the disease is severe, defoliation, dieback and fruit drop occur and infected fruits are less valuable or entirely unmarketable, he added.

He urged the department concerned to carry out a thorough research and get a permanent solution avoiding the canker risk of citrus fields and also asked to enhance the export target by signing agreements with expanded foreign markets to support the dying citrus industry.

Director Citrus Research while contacted about the kinnow grower problems said that the main reason behind the citrus slump was that most of the farmers did not opt for modern pruning practices in their orchards as the modern ways of pruning controlled the diseases and insects and also enhance the fruit quality.

He said that research was continued in this regard and the centre had already introduced diseases free kinnow plants which would be beneficial in enhancing quality of production and seedless kinnow.